Ospreys, Barred Owls, and a Beaver

It has been a great couple of weeks and weekend. I have been doing a lot of photography some of which I will share in this article to include the images that I have taken recently. Because of all of my recent activity, I am behind in processing recent images and posting them to my blog. Regardless, I am about to celebrate a significant milestone–i.e., breaking 20,000 views on my blog. It will happen by the end of the day or tomorrow. Thank you to all of you who have been following my blog and especially to the many who take the time to write comments. I am passionate about nature photography, and my blog has turned into an effective way for me to share that passion and my images.

Two weeks ago, as well as yesterday morning, I went to Leesylvania State Park and photographed the sunrise and a pair of Osprey that return each year to the same location to rebuild their nest and raise their young. While at Leesylvania, I photographed (opening image) a Great Blue Heron standing motionless on one leg on the fishing pier railing in the early morning light before the sun began to rise.

Above is an image looking down the Leesylvania fishing pier that I shot two weeks ago, and below is an image that I took yesterday morning as the sun was rising above the same pier. Normally, a cloudless sunrise is much less interesting than one with clouds, but as the sun rose above the pier, it made the otherwise less interesting sight very beautiful.

Below are several of the Osprey images. The Ospreys were rebuilding their nest, and in the below image, the male Osprey is returning to the nest with a small branch.

After depositing the branch, the Osprey took off for more nesting material. It was interesting watching them as they took turns searching for and returning with nesting material.

In between working the nest, they did a little mating, as you can see in the first below image. After mating, the couple relaxed together and enjoyed the warm sun, as seen in the second photo.

Below, the male Osprey took off for more nesting material.

After leaving the nest, the male Osprey landed on a nearby piling (below), and then called to his mate, as I zoomed in for a close up photo.

That same morning, as I was photographing the Ospreys, a Great Blue Heron was perched in a tree at the end of the pier (below) keeping an eye on the activity and basking in the morning sun.

On Thursday last week, I located the pair of Barred Owls again. This time, the trees were full of bright green, new leaves that provided a colorful background as I photographed the owls. They seem to be getting used to seeing me, and calmly perched in the nearby trees as I photographed them.

Below, the pair were together for the first time for me to photograph them on the same branch. Unfortunately, they were not both looking in my direction, but I included this image since they can be seen together.

While I was watching them, they mated. Apparently, the female has not laid eggs yet, but I was able to photograph her as she entered her nest (below). As you can see, the area is heavily wooded, which will make it difficult to capture images of the owlets in about a month or two.  Nevertheless, I am planning to try.

One more image of one of the owls with its wing outstretched. It is difficult to appreciate the size of Barred Owls from these images, but they average 20 inches in height and can have a wingspan of 48 inches. They are silent flyers, making no noise as they fly, which I have experienced a numbered of times as they swooped over me to another location.

While photographing the owls, I could not pass up a shot of a River Cooter (turtle) out of the water and up on a tree limb also enjoying the spring weather and sunshine.

I have more images to share to include those that I took yesterday afternoon while checking, as a volunteer, the Bluebird boxes at Merrimac Farm Wildlife Management Area. More than half of the 15 boxes had either eggs in them or hatchings. I will post those images in an article later this week. While at Merrimac, I photographed the below Black Racer that was enjoying the warm sun on top of an old, rusty furnace near an abandoned and dilapidated house at the farm. Black Racers are a very common snake in the mid-Atlantic and southeast United States. Fortunately, the Bluebird boxes are far away and have protective baffles, preventing snakes from entering the boxes.

I am concluding this article with an image of a beaver (below) that I photographed near our dock.

I was on my upper deck and looked down at my dock and noticed a beaver in the water alongside it. I quickly grabbed my camera and went down to the dock, and as I approached, I saw that the beaver had moved up onto the shoreline of the lake. Unfortunately, the beaver also saw me and quickly slid into the lake, but I was able get some photos of it as it swam away. The lake water, as you can see, was covered in pollen, small leaves and leaf blooms that had just blown out of the trees from a passing rain storm. The white swirls in the water are reflections from the clouds above.

I do not know about you, but I am having a fantastic spring enjoying and photographing all that Mother Nature has brought to us this year. I have many more images to share and am planning many more photography trips to include Florida in May and Honduras in early June.

All of the images in this article were taken with a Nikon D800 camera and various lenses to include a 600mm, 20-70mm, and 70-200mm.

About Stephen L Tabone

Retired Executive Consultant and Nature Photographer
This entry was posted in Leesylvania State park, Nature, Spring Photographs, sunrise, Wildlife and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Ospreys, Barred Owls, and a Beaver

  1. krhee says:

    Hello Stephen,

    I enjoy your articles with excellent photos as well as your passion. Great photography on Heron, Owls, Sunrise, Snake, as well as Beaver! What a wonderful time you must have been having. I am absolutely sure you plan on the Super Moon on May 5-6, right? Great pleasure of sharing your pictures and experience with Nature!


    • Thank you Kee. I appreciate your positive feedback and sharing my photography with you, since you too shoot Leesylvania and also are passionate about nature photography. Hope to see you at Leesylvania soon.

  2. Ernie Sears says:

    What a great post to mark getting your 20,000th visitor – packed with super images! The osprey shots are just great!

  3. barbaraelka says:

    congrats on 20,000 mark…
    great visuals

  4. Donnie says:

    All of these are amazing. The color of the sky in the Heron and dock pics are extraordinary! Thanks for keeping us abreast of your volunteer work, too!

  5. Congratulations on passing the 20,000 viewer mark!!! Love the first photo of the heron standing on one leg, how regal he is! And the next photo looking down the dock is so architectural … so unlike the nature photography, I love it, too! I’m so in love with the Barred Owls. And you got to see them mate? Incredible! What a great month you have had!

    • Thank you on the congratulations, comments and compliments. Occasionally, I do photograph “man-made objects” like the fishing pier, when I can visualize a gorgeous image. Everything came together for that one, and I had to share it on my “Nature Photography” blog. Yes, I did see the owls mating, but was not in position to capture it. And yes, I am having a great month, and its not over yet.

  6. clover58 says:

    This is a wonderful collection of nature scenes today! Breath-taking shots of the osprety, especially, and so vivid and sharp. You are very talented with your camera, and your story-telling with your pictures is well done!

    Congratulations on all those viewers; I imagine you’ll continue to grow because of the beauty you are able to share with the rest of us.

    • Thank you for the congratulations and VERY complimentary comments. They are greatly appreciated and inspirational. There are some mornings, when it is very difficult to get out of bed at 0430 or earlier to shoot a sunrise and other nature scenes, but it is always rewarding, and comments like yours help to motivate me.

  7. Betty says:

    Congratulations on reaching the 20K viewers’ mark! You already know I am hooked on your blog with all the amazing nature shots and intriguing narratives. So I’m sure you’ll be hitting the 50K viewers’ mark in no time. I felt like I was swimming along with that beaver in the pollen-strewn lake…fabulous capture of movement.

    • Thank you Betty for being “hooked” on my blog. Knowing people like you are out there taking the time to read it and enjoying my photography fuels my passion for being outdoors in nature and capturing it digitally.

  8. Mac says:


  9. Mac says:

    Educational Moments in vivid colors…takes your breath away.

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